- Juventus could have signed Cristiano Ronaldo a year earlier than he joined Man United
- Former sporting director Gianni Di Marzio says Marcelo Salas rejected a move to Sporting
- Salas refused a swap deal to join Sporting Lisbon to allow Ronaldo join the Old Lady in 2003
Former Juventus sporting director Gianni Di Marzio has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo could have donned the shirt of the Old Lady instead of Manchester United if Marcelo Salas had accepted a move to Portugal.
According to Di Marzio, thge Chilean legend refused to join Sporting Lisbon in 2002.
Ronaldo eventually made the switch to Old Trafford in 2003 as an 18-year-old after he starred in a pre-season match against the Red Devils.
However a year earlier Juventus agreed a swap deal with him and Salas – but the striker failed to agree terms.
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Di Marzio was on a scouting mission to see Ricardo Quaresma, but Ronaldo started instead, he told Marca after witnessing him: “I called my club and told them I’d seen someone who would be the best player in the world, obviously after Maradona.
"I negotiated and brought Cristiano over to Turin in 2002 to sign for Juve, but Salas didn't accept the terms of the swap.
"For just a few million euros, Salas didn't want to leave and so Juventus lost out on Cristiano Ronaldo. His agent (Jorge Mendes) knows this story very well."
At United Ronaldo won every trophy possible - winning three league titles, one Champions League, one Club World Cup, one FA Cup and two League Cups.
He then moved to Los Blancos in 2009 for a then world record transfer fee of £80million.